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Disabled people meet with Ministry’s transformation leader

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Disability support services are set to change. Photo: Stuff NZ

Two forums were held last week where Enabling Good Lives (EGL) participants in the Waikato could hear more about the future of the demonstration.

EGL was launched in the Waikato back in 2015 as part of a new model of disability supports that incorporate further choice and control for disabled people and their families.

The wider scope of the impending changes to disability support was also on the agenda at the forums, and Sacha O’Dea from the Ministry of Social Development was present to field questions.

“Everything stays exactly the same in the Waikato and their funding will continue until something else is rolled out”, O’Dea said.

O’Dea will manage a big chunk of the system transformation in her role as Programme Lead of System Transformation.

For the wider system transformation; a co-design group will be formed to come up with what the new system will provide to people with disabilities. Four disabled people and one representative of families will feature on that group amongst representatives from service providers, Government, and other key areas.

“It’s about understanding the population you’re working with and what the outcomes they want are. You’ve also got to look at what levels of funding they receive currently, and then you work out what additional improvements could be made with additional investment”, O’Dea said.

“We need to understand the level of funding currently available. It’s less about what the providers need and more about what individuals need to be able to purchase the right supports”, O’Dea added

Community inclusion and greater education about disability in schools was a key want for some of the participants at the forum. Just how this happens remains a big talking point among many in the disability sector, but O’Dea was adamant that getting disabled people doing more of the normal things in life was a good first step.

“People doing more things in everyday places will help to change attitudes in the community and the system transformation will allow them to have more choice over that”, O’Dea said.

The Waikato demonstration will continue until the wider transformation of the disability sector takes place. For now, decisions will be made by EGL’s Leadership Group in the Waikato will continue discussions about how to improve the services over the next two years.

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